Ballon d’Or winners and the top 10 players from 2000 to 2020 as odds suggest Robert Lewandowski or Jorginho could join Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on elite list

Robert Lewandowski would almost certainly have won the 2020 Ballon d’Or had the ceremony not been cancelled last year.

The Bayern Munich striker top scored in the Bundesliga with 34 goals and scored 15 times in the Champions League as Bayern won the treble in 2020.

Lewandowski is one of the world’s most deadliest strikers
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Judged by a panel of journalists, the Ballon d’Or ran in conjunction with FIFA from 2010 until 2015, when the governing body split to create its own – and much less prestigious – ‘Best Player’ award.

It has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in recent years, with the duo winning 11 of the 12 awards up for grabs since 2008 – Luka Modric briefly broke their duopoly in 2018.

Lewandowski, who has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea, is among the front-runners for this year’s edition.

Last season he scored 41 league goals as he won another title and, at the time of writing, is 6/1 to win, though Messi is the favourite to win it.

Other candidates include Euro 2020 winner Jorginho and his Chelsea teammate N’Golo Kante.

Modric beat Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or in 2018

But what was the football world like before Messi and Ronaldo took over? That’s what is looking at, stretching back to 2000.

It’s also interesting to see who made it into voters’ lists of the top ten footballers in the world from every year since the turn of the millennium.

Ballon d’Or 2000

1. Luis Figo (Barcelona and Real Madrid)

2. Zinedine Zidane (Juventus)

3. Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)

4. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

5. Alessandro Nesta (Lazio)

6. Rivaldo (Barcelona)

Real Madrid star Luis Figo collects his award in 2000
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7. Gabriel Batistuta (Roma)

8. Gaizka Mendieta (Valencia)

9. Raul (Real Madrid)

10: Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)

10: David Beckham (Manchester United)

Ballon d’Or 2001

1. Michael Owen (Liverpool)

2. Raul (Real Madrid)

3. Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich)

4. David Beckham (Manchester United)

5. Francesco Totti (Roma)

6. Luis Figo (Real Madrid)

7. Rivaldo (Barcelona)

8. Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)

9. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

10. Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

Ballon d’Or 2002

1. Ronaldo (Inter Milan and Real Madrid)

2. Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid)

3. Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich)

4. Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

5. Michael Ballack (Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich)

6. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

7. Raul (Real Madrid)

8. Rivaldo (Barcelona and AC Milan)

9. Yildiray Basturk (Bayer Leverkusen)

10. Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus)

Ballon d’Or 2003

1. Pavel Nedved (Juventus)

2. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

3. Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)

4. Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)

5. Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved poses with the prestigious gong
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6. Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)

7. Raul (Real Madrid)

8. Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid)

9. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

10. David Beckham (Manchester United and Real Madrid)

Ballon d’Or 2004

1. Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)

2. Deco (Porto and Barcelona)

3. Ronaldinho (Barcelona)

4. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

5. Theodoros Zagorakis (AEK Athens and Bologna)

6. Adriano (Parma and Inter Milan)

7. Pavel Naved (Juventus)

8. Wayne Rooney (Everton and Manchester United)

9. Ricardo Carvalho (Porto and Chelsea)

10. Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)

Ballon d’Or 2005

1. Ronaldinho (Barcelona)

2. Frank Lampard (Chelsea)

3. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

4. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

5. Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)

6. Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)

7. Adriano (Inter Milan)

8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Juventus)

9. Kaka (AC Milan)

10: Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona)

10: John Terry (Chelsea)

Ballon d’Or 2006

1. Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus and Real Madrid)

2. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

3. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

4. Ronaldinho (Barcelona)

5. Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

6. Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona)

A moment Fabio Cannavaro will never forget
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7. Miroslav Klose (Werder Bremen)

8. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)

9. Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan)

10. Jens Lehmann (Arsenal)

Ballon d’Or 2007

1. Kaka (AC Milan)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

3. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

4. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)

5. Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan)

6. Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid)

7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan)

8. Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)

9. Robinho (Real Madrid)

10. Francesco Totti (Roma)

Ballon d’Or 2008

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

3. Fernando Torres (Liverpool)

4. Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)

5. Xavi (Barcelona)

6. Andrey Arshavin (Zenit Saint Petersburg)

7. David Villa (Valencia)

8. Kaka (AC Milan)

9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan)

10. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Ballon d’Or 2009

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United and Real Madrid)

3. Xavi (Barcelona)

4. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

5. Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona)

6. Kaka (AC Milan and Real Madrid)

Lionel Messi with his first Ballon d’Or in 2009
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7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan and Barcelona)

8. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

9. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

10. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)

Ballon d’Or 2010

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

3. Xavi (Barcelona)

4. Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan)

5. Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid)

6. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

7. Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)

8. David Villa (Valencia and Barcelona)

9. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)

10. Xabi Alonso (Liverpool)

Messi and Ronaldo have won the Ballon d’Or multiple times and have dominated it since 2008

Ballon d’Or 2011

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

3. Xavi (Barcelona)

4. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

5. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

6. Luis Suarez (Ajax and Liverpool)

7. Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan)

8. Samuel Eto’o (Inter Milan and Anzhi Makhachkala)

9. Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)

10. Neymar (Santos)

Ballon d’Or 2012

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

3. Xavi (Barcelona)

4. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

5. Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)

6. Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)

7. Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)

8. Didier Drogba (Chelsea and Atletico Madrid)

9. Robin van Persie (Arsenal and Manchester United)

10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain)

Ballon d’Or 2013

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

3. Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain)

5. Neymar (Santos and Barcelona)

Ronaldo has won it five times during his career
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6. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

7. Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

8. Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)

9. Gareth Bale (Tottenham and Real Madrid)

10. Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)

Ballon d’Or 2014

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

3. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

4. Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)

5. Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)

6. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

7. Neymar (Barcelona)

8. James Rodriguez (Monaco and Real Madrid)

9. Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich and Real Madrid)

10. Angel di Maria (Real Madrid and Manchester United)

Ballon d’Or 2015

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

3. Neymar (Barcelona)

4. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

5. Paul Pogba (Juventus)

Messi has won it six times and could even add another in 2021
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6. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

7. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

8. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

9. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

10. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Ballon d’Or 2016

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

3. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

4. Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

5. Neymar (Barcelona)

6. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

7. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)

8. Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

9: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

9: Pepe (Real Madrid)

Jorginho has proven many of his doubters wrong and has even been tipped to win the Ballon d’Or

Ballon d’Or 2017

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

3. Neymar (Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain)

4. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

5. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

6. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

7. Kylian Mbappe (Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain)

8. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

9. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

10. Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Ballon d’Or 2018

1. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

3. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

4. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Modric was awarded it following a fantastic season which also saw him named best player at the World Cup
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6. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

7. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)

8. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

9. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

10. Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Ballon d’Or 2019

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

4. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

No player has won the Ballon d’Or more than Messi

6. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

7. Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

8. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

9. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

10. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

Ballon d’Or 2020 (cancelled due to COVID pandemic)